It all gets back to your early training. At Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I majored in news journalism and minored in philosophy, I was fortunate to take a reporting class from the legendary Albion Ross, a foreign news reporter for many years for The New York Times. I visited Prof. Ross years later after he retired to a monastery in the Swiss Alps (true story!), where he finally found peace after teaching young journalists like me. “The training of a writer is the training of a thinker!” he would thunder in class, after dismissing yet another story of mine as flat-footed drivel.
I think I heard his voice that day in late 2001, shortly after I had been laid off from my job reporting for Jane Bryant Quinn’s personal finance column in the Washington Post. New York State had shorted my check, I learned—because they could. At that time, New York was one about a dozen states that penalized laid-off workers for taking their pensions early, even if you rolled over the money to another pension plan. When I lost my court case, I took the story to the court of public opinion (When Pensions and Unemployment Checks Don’t Mix, The New York Times).
I love making calls to the unwilling and unresponsive until you catch them in the act of avoiding you, but I also enjoy editing. I’m an experienced editor who has moved from designing and supervising pages with print production staff to editing breaking news for digital-only publishers. I’ve also worked on the staffs of several start-up publications driven by idealism and not much funding, because I believed in their missions.
Albion Ross is no longer around, so these days I seek out colleagues at the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and the American Society of Journalists & Authors to read my copy.
Is there a story I can report or edit for you that will touch a nerve with your readers? Click here to read a few of my clips.